Match Report - DARLINGTON

Half Time:

Kettering Town FC: 1



Yellow Cards

Red Cards




Jack Lambert 00

Yellow Cards

Red Cards


Full Time:

Kettering Town FC: 1


Yellow Cards

Red Cards




Jake Cooper 45
Will Hatfield 45

Yellow Cards

Red Cards


Match Report

Kettering Town v Darlington FC

Vanarama National League North

Saturday 6th September 2021   3:00pm


Kettering Town 

Darlington FC


 Jackson Smith



 Tommy Taylor



 Connor Barrett

  Off 60


 Alex Storey          



 Alex Brown



 Ben Hedley               



 Luke Ward    



 Will Hatfield     (Capt)          

 Off 92


 Chris Smith



 Jarrett Rivers



 Luke O'Neil



 Jack Lambert

 Off 87


 Callum Powell



 Jake Cassidy

 Off 90


 Connor Kennedy (Capt)



 Alex Purver              



 Gerry McDonagh

 Off 68


 Kallum Griffiths          



 Gary Stohrer

 Off 75


 Danny Rose



 Claudio Ofosu



 Jake Cooper                   















 Jordon Crawford



 Brandon Taylor         



 Lamine Sherif

 On 60


 Junior Mondal           

 On 87


 Tom Unwin



 Lucas Martin



 Decarrey Sherriff

 On 75


 James Beauchamp

 On 92


 Kyle Perry

 On 68


 Kevin Dos Santos

 On 90


Referee: Ross Martin       Assistants: Stuart Richardson and Martyn Fryer

With the disappointment of the Tuesday night FA Cup defeat seeming a distant memory after a covid enforced lay off it was back to league action against Darlington who dismantled Guiseley 5-1 last weekend. Connor Johnson who was doubtful mid-week failed to recover sufficiently to make the team sheet and was replaced by Luke O'Neil. Harrison Neal suspended after his red card at Buxton was replaced Connor Kennedy returning from injury. A new face would lead the forward line with Gerry McDonagh arriving on a month's loan from FC Halifax.

Under leaden skies with a threat of rain with the pitch looking the best it has all season.  Darlington in yellow shirts and blue shorts kicked off attacking the Tin Hat but Kettering started on the front foot and won a corner in the second minute but it came to nothing. Four minutes later Luke O'Neill set up a chance for Barrett but Connor's headed contact was poor and the ball went wide. The resulting goal kick came straight back as Ofosu broke well down Darlington's left. Claudio fed the ball inside into the path of McDonagh but Cooper with his long legs closed Gerry down quickly and the ball went behind for a goal kick.  A minute later and Cooper was involved again but for the wrong reasons. A high ball from Kettering's defence flew towards the defender with Callum Powell pressing him ready to pounce on any error or the ball passed over his head. Cooper managed to get his head it but sent the ball looping towards his own goal. Tommy Taylor, the Darlington keeper had advanced a few yards towards the action and was caught in no-man's land and despite leaping high he could not get a meaningful glove on the ball and it continued on its way into the net. 1-0 Kettering 7 mins.

On ten minutes  a long ball forward was chased by McDonagh he got past Alex Storey and onto the by-line where he delivered a low cross into the box. Cooper only managed a sliced clearance which went almost directly to Powell on the edge of the box. Callum decided to shoot but his effort went narrowly wide of the far post.

Three minutes later the referee made problems for himself and Kettering. In the middle of the park Will Hatfield lost his footing and slipped over landing on his back with the ball underneath his legs. As the whistle had not sounded Stohrer carried on playing trying to extricate the ball from under the Darlington player. The referee rather than blowing his whistle for obstruction for preventing Gary from playing the ball allowed play to go on for a few moments before blowing up and penalising Stohrer for trying to play and to add insult to injury gave the Kettering player a lecture on his conduct.

After eighteen minutes a Darlington attack broke down and Stohrer fed the ball forward to Ofosu before being caught late from behind by Alex Purver, the referee acknowledged the offence but waved play on as Kettering were on the attack. Claudio made a large territorial gain played a one two with Powell on the edge of the area but the move faltered but resulted in a corner. Before the kick was taken the referee had a word with Purver. The corner came to nothing. A minute later Connor Kennedy set Powell free down Darlington's right. After beating the right back tight on the by-line Callum's cross was deflected behind for another Kettering corner which again came to nothing.

With twenty minutes left in the half Kettering worked the ball forward to Powell, now working on the open side. Callum advanced to edge of the penalty area before being closed down by two Darlington men in a pincer action. Purver overstepped the mark though and was adjudged to have fouled the forward for which he received a yellow card. Luke O'Neill took the kick just right of centre level with the edge of the “D”. Luke O'Neil hit a good strike which looked like it had been tipped over by Taylor but the referee awarded a goal kick. This would represent Kettering's high-water mark.

With just over ten minutes left of the half Darlington managed to get back on even terms. Will Hatfield took possession some 25 yards out and made his way across the pitch parallel to the goal line with Stohrer in close contact. Hatfield attempted a shot but appeared to lose grip with his standing foot causing him to fall. The referee saw it differently and awarded a free-kick to Darlington and a card to Stohrer something that looked like it was coming for the last twenty minutes. It was a very similar position to that of O'Neill's near miss but to the left rather than the right. Hatfield and Lambert stood over the ball before Hatfield peeled away and Lambert struck a powerful shot with perfect precision clipping the inside of the right-hand post on its passage into the net giving Jackson Smith no chance. 1-1 Darlington 35 mins.

The goal sparked Darlington into life and they had a period of sustained pressure with Jackson Smith being kept busy. Four minutes later and it could've been worse when Chris Smith lost his footing allowing Jake Cassidy in behind to fire in a shot but Jackson Smith came to his namesake's rescue and blocked away a fierce shot with his gloves. A minute additional time was to be played enough time for O'Neill to pick up a caution for a foul.

Half Time: Kettering Town 1  Darlington FC 1

Alan Armstrong of Darlington would have had the easier half time talk of the two managers as his team came out and carried on where they had left off at the end of the first half and won a corner after two minutes of the half when O'Neill had to opt for safety and head behind a ball played forward. The corner was a curious one being driven low across the penalty area but it evaded everyone shooting out the opposite of the area.  

A very disappointing display by Kettering apart from the first twenty-five minutes switched off. A lack of match sharpness due to their break or a hangover from the Buxton game, it matters not as football is a results game and this performance was a shadow of those produced earlier in the season. Darlington were superior in every aspect of the game showing more fight and determination. The only time their goalkeeper was tested was when his own centre-back was in possession. Six minutes later Darlington won another corner when Hatfield who was starting to run the game had a shot deflected off Brown. The corner came to nothing due to a Darlington foul in the penalty area.

On fifty-six minutes Kennedy's name was added to the growing list of Kettering players in the referee's notebook. On the hour mark Kettering made their first change with Lamine Sherif replacing Connor Barrett, who by his standards had had a poor game, with the team assuming a 4-4-2 formation.  

Two minutes later Darlington won another corner on the stand side after  O'Neill had to head behind a Rivers cross to prevent the ball reaching an unmarked Lambert on the back post. The kick was led to a corner on the opposite side coming off McDonagh. Lambert took the kick and picked out Jake Cooper who after terrorising his own keeper headed home from six yards out.   1-1 Darlington 63 mins.

Kettering's response was after a prolonged wait to replace McDonagh with Kyle Perry with what appeared to be a like for like swap which would not add anything to a toothless second half display. Kyle eventually came on to help defend another Darlington corner he bumped into Jake Cassidy who responded by elbowing the Kettering player in the face right in front of the referee. The referee took no decisive action apart from talking to the two players no doubt warning Perry not to put his face in the way of flying arms.  

With fifteen minutes to go Gary Stohrer was the final Kettering substitution with Decarrey Sherriff taking his place. It was most probably safest as the way the refereeing decisions were going it would be odds on that Gary would get a second yellow card.  

Four minutes later Jake Cassidy who in the home fans opinion shouldn't have been on the pitch was finally booked following a very late challenge on Jackson Smith right out on the far touchline. With under ten minutes to go Powell had the chance to make himself a hero when he was picked out with a ball in from the open side, he took a touch rather than hitting it first time allowing both defender and keeper to get into position the delayed shot went into the side netting.

With five minutes to go Ward showed solidarity with his teammates by picking up a yellow with a late challenge on Jarrett Rivers leaving the Darlington player against the advertising boards. Luke could have been dismissed but stayed on the pitch just like Rivers who managed to drag his wounded body the distance onto the pitch to ensure that his treatment would eat up time on the clock when surely, he should have been warned for unsporting behaviour. Darlington were awarded a penalty when the resulting free kick was loose in the six-yard box, Perry dispossessed Jake Cooper with a two footed challenge winning the ball cleanly but judged in a dangerous manner by the referee. Will Hatfield struck it low to Smith's left. He dived the right way and got a glove to the ball but it spun up and over his hand.1-2 Darlington 85 mins.

Darlington's made two substitutions before the end of normal time to run the clock down with Junior Mondal replacing Jack Lambert and Kevin dos Santos, Jake Cassidy.

With five additional minutes to be played there was no action missed by many home supporters who left before the final whistle but enough time for James Beauchamp to come on as a late substitution.

Full Time: Kettering Town 1  Darlington FC 3

Kettering Town yellow cards:   Stohrer, O'Neil, Kennedy, Ward – fouls

Darlington FC yellow cards:  Griffiths, Cassidy – fouls           

Attendance: 835

Elgoods Brewery Kettering Town Man-of-the-Match – Alex Brown– chosen by Barry Sharrock & friends. Brown was the only player along with Jackson Smith who produced a performance expected of them.

Klondike winner no - 15268, Alan Wilson of Bartan Seagrave wins £180.

Team Sheet

Location: Home (LATIMER PARK)
Kick Off: 06th Nov 2021
Kettering Town FC
0 Jack Lambert
0 Jake Cooper
0 Will Hatfield